Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Submission + - Hulu language that compiles into Hadoop MapReduce jobs (

tristanreid writes: Hulu's tech blog outlines BeaconSpec, a domain-specific language for describing types of beacons. A beacon is the chunks of data from Hulu users' devices (set-top, mobile, etc.), which Hulu process for things like recommendations and determining which new content to buy. These descriptions get compiled into MapReduce jobs, which they runs on a Hadoop cluster. The goal in all this is to reduce the monotony of writing code for processing things that are structurally similar, but with different content.

Comment Re:Good point (Score 2, Informative) 327

When oil droplets are small enough, they're eaten by naturally-occuring bacteria. That's the main reason for dispersants.

That's also the reason that naturally-occuring oil seeps don't pose a threat to wildlife, because in a seep the oil comes out slowly and spread out, rather than shooting out in a massive non-stop plume.

I don't put it past BP to have the ulterior motive you're describing, but there's not enough evidence to convict on this particular charge (so to speak).


Comment Re:Wrong Movie Reference (Score 1) 544

I guess it depends on how you define: "Nanny Government". Is that the ones who are generally affiliated with religious censorship? The ones who are trying to change history and science textbooks to better fit their political agenda? The ones who have generally tried to control people's sexuality and drug use for the past century, who constantly try to make the military more powerful, the ones who use words like treason when someone describes possible human rights violations by our country? The ones who generally try to close access to information about the government in the name of security (unless it's politically expedient to do the opposite)?

Next to all that, I guess I don't really see things like political correctness or health care as all that offensive. Maybe they're a slippery slope, but the other side seems to have already slid down the hill.

I mean, think there are bajillions of examples where PC gets taken too far, and I agree that trying to enforce something like it is probably a bad idea. I think the health care issue is so fraught with exceptions and inefficiencies that it's going to be a horrible mess. But I don't buy that the left is the Nanny Government. I think that is propogated by the good, down-to-earth, neighborly people that represent some of the biggest organizations on the planet. Somehow the right keeps this myth alive that they represent freedom for the common man.


Comment Tivo Pop-up Ads Make me Hate Tivo (Score 1) 490

I used to be a Tivo owner, but now I use the lesser-quality DVR that comes with my cable box. Why? Partly because of the cost, but mostly because I feel like Tivo is one of the worst offenders I see in terms of popup ads. They manage to route around the popup blocker in Google Toolbar.

If you are literally FORCING someone to look at your ads, I don't want to do business with you. Ever.


Comment Re:Human Intelligence... (Score 1) 979

Your opinion is dumb.

Okay, why?

Not going to put words in the GP's mouth, but my take is because:

(a) Cheer up, emo kid.

(b) You presuppose that all base instincts are bad (e.g. you reference them as "crap"). It's kind of Victorian.

(c) What base instinct produced your first post? Did you feel that if you posted a view that was anti-humanity that you would distinguish yourself from the herd and get you noticed by potential mates? On /.?

(d) Your argument is reductionist and nihilistic (see (a)): "If people tend to do bad things, society will tend to do bad things. If civilizations have done bad things, they will always tend to do bad things." The problem with reductionism is that it's possible to argue that any altruistic action is done purely to enhance ones own esteem. It's possible that no form of art has ever had merit, and that the advancement of science and knowledge serve only to further the dominance of alpha males. But it's also possible to argue the converse for evil actions. You could argue that there's no reason not to 'cull the herd' of weaklings, as they will taint the gene pool. I disagree with you for the same reason that I disagree with Ayn Rand. There's no room for nuance.

(e) An alternate possibility to "Society and civilization are simply entities that over time evolved on top of all this crap" is that society and civilization function as ways to prevent us from purely acting on base instincts, and that we've actually learned some lessons from history. We stumble along, and different peoples' base drives will direct them to push for a different society, but we have evolved societal rules that have actually protected us from too many crimes in any particular direction. There are certainly conflicts and crimes between family members, between neighbors, between states, between countries, and certainly the winners are usually the 'stronger'. I just think the failings are instances where our societal rules still have room for improvement, not as an indictment against our species ever being any better. It's only been a relatively short period of time since humans were able to talk to anyone on the planet in real-time.

Just my two cents,


Comment Re:Videos? In college? (Score 1) 134

I took a lit class called "An Introduction to Vice" in which we read a bunch of Shakespeare plays (Othello==Rage, Merchant of Venice==Greed, etc) and watched 12 Hitchcock films. The films were an integral part of the course.

In high school and before, I can (sadly) see your point. But if you have a prof. showing a film in college and you consider it a pointless time waster, I think you went to the wrong school or took the wrong class.


Comment Re:I could have told you that. (Score 1) 938

I'm pretty sure there is a strong fundamental need to establish dominance.

You, sir, are an idiot.

...--snipped pretty well thought out reasoning about evolution of social behaviors--...

The culture of modern American society already elevated this competitiveness to dangerous levels, and this is why you are being led by sociopaths. Telling people that they "need" to dominate others, plays exactly into the hands of those sick leaders -- it imposes pathological behavior onto the rest of society, and makes it impossible to recognize the disease in those who have it.

Ok Alex, please don't take this the wrong way - I really thought your comment was excellent, and I agree with what you're saying.

I just think it's kind of funny that you're talking about the evils of dominating others and bullying, and you started by calling that guy an idiot.

I understand your anger at his attitude, but remember that by posting something that is clearly more intelligent, you've already established a form of dominance. By topping that with the insult...well I think you get my point.

Come on, you have to admit, it's at least more ironic than rain on a wedding day.


Comment Re:I've had a long-running problem (Score 1) 756

Hey, I'm a skilled software developer, and I agree with your wife. A perfect OS would not require you to do housecleaning tasks in order to function well.

Why is it so unreasonable to ask a device to work for you, instead of demanding that we learn to think in a technical way in order to use it?

From a geek perspective, yeah multitasking is great. But the correct implementation of multitasking should be able to prioritize the current application in such a way that the user experience is not impacted by background applications. Maybe the device should serialize portions of background apps to disk, and only run some minimal set of tasks? Maybe there should be an api that makes this easy to do? Maybe the "sleep for a minute then check again, keeping the entire program in memory" loops should be re-written as cron tasks?

I generally would want to use and develop software on a device that has multitasking, given the choice and everything else equal. But really, it's the user experience that trumps all.


Comment Re:Dear FSF (Score 1) 1634

I see what you're saying. From my (admittedly limited) point of view, it's about as many Pro-Apple people defending Apple's choices on /. as Anti-Apple, and one crowd doesn't seem to systematically get more highly rated comments than the other.

I don't get as involved in the types of discussions you're describing, so I guess I haven't seen as many of those zealots who vilify everything Apple does. On the other hand, surely you'll admit that some of their historical practices have come across as underhanded? The fact that a special tool was needed to install memory comes to mind. I also have a slightly different memory of how the 'clone wars' happened. Apple actually sold more Macs than it ever had before AFTER the clones were introduced. They were becoming a vastly more popular operating system, well into the mid-90s. It was only when Win95 came out, and when OS 8 was seen as a failure, when they decided it wouldn't support existing Apple hardware that was in some cases only 2 years old - that's when they went after the clones. People bought clones because they were cheap, but I remember Mac Addict and others acting like every clone bought was money out of Apple's pocket. It was also kind of underhanded how they terminated the manufacturers' licenses with a legal loop-hole. Many of the manufacturers were just trying to play in the same pool, and were promoting the Apple Way more strongly than anyone. A company should maximize its profits, but it seemed kinda uncool. I'm just saying.

Anyway, because of my limited experience with 'modern' (post-2000) Macs other than iPods, I really don't know how much the company has changed. You could be right that they're getting a bad rap. It might help, though, if you try to see past the vitriolic types to those who would love to see Apple succeed, but also hold a bit of reserve about Apple's methods. People extrapolate every action of Google into an evil plot to rule the universe, why shouldn't they also assume that Apple is going to try to lock their platform as much as possible?

Comment Re:Dear FSF (Score 1) 1634

Your argument is essentially "I'm not responding to what you're saying, but other people 'on your side' are unreasonable, therefore there's just nothing to be discussed?

FWIW, I agree that there's a lot of zealotry around, and it's hard to have a reasonable conversation.

I was a Mac guy in college in the mid-90s, I was the main Mac support guy for the helpdesk of a very large university. I contributed chapters to several books on Mac programming. Then Apple decided to kill the clone manufacturers. Then they released some OS upgrades that didn't support existing hardware (partly to leave behind the clone manufacturers, but I had a legitimate powerbook that wasn't very old). Many fervent Mac supporters (including myself) got a lot more quiet, and our next purchase was not an Apple computer. This was one reason that they effectively disappeared as a viable option for several years.

It's all well and good for a company to make money any way they can within certain boundaries. When a company starts to reach a certain size, they start to dominate the market. This is IMHO when people really need to express their opinions about how the company does business. There are many barriers to entry for a company trying to enter this market, not least of which is perception. If you insist that open software isn't important to people, you're helping to make it true.


Comment Re:Looking for a fight in all the wrong places. (Score 1) 156

I don't think the GP was really trolling, and I think some of your econ 101 is a bit off.

If the chinese government is hording money, they won't be buying up dollars. That's spending their money to buy dollars...They are propping up the US economy.

They're buying T-bills. The impact of this is to drive up the value of the dollar relative to the Yuan, and also it keeps US interest rates low. From the standpoint of "we have borrowed lots of money", yes, they are 'propping up' the US economy. From the standpoint of "US businesses are competing in a worldwide market against Chinese businesses", no, they are very much not helping the US economy. They are making dollars more expensive for global customers. It is an effective tariff on US businesses overseas.

That means they need to continue to grow and increase their middle class, or the populace won't be happy at all...Nor does it make sense for the government to horde money to keep the populace poor if they want to keep the populace happy. If the divide between the wealthy (government) and the poor is great, there is a greater chance of unreset.

There's a difference between "this is what would make sense" and "this is what is happening". The GP's sense of civil unrest is not just invented. While the Chinese Govt may want to keep the populace happy, in fact the divide between rich and poor is growing greater, and the social gap between rural and urban is increasing. Their govt is full of nepotism and cronyism, and people are becoming more aware and unhappy about it. Add that to increasing pollution and demographic issues from their historic policies - they have many problems on their horizon.

Not saying that these problems are guaranteed to end up the way the GP stated, just saying, the GP isn't necessarily the complete idiot you are portraying.


Comment Re:Think executable step-by-step tutorials (Score 3, Interesting) 154

I totally agree. I watched the youtube video (is WTFYV the equivalent of RTFA?), and I was kind of impressed. Although the demo shows an interaction with a bunch of buttons, the real power is the image recognition. She showed how with one command each you can script the two of the fundamental interactions you have with images on the screen: click it, or wait for it to appear. The fuzzy visual recognition algorithms are a huge plus. If you wanted to script something in your room using a web-cam, this is basically how to do it with trivial coding.

I think of this as an equivalent to something like sql. There's a domain in which you'd like to impose logical structure (relational data / images), and you generally use the language to great effect in conjunction with another programming language. If I had to write a scheduled task for my laptop that needed for me to be on the VPN, I'd much rather use something like this to handle the connection rather than trying to figure out how the VPN API works.


Slashdot Top Deals

A university faculty is 500 egotists with a common parking problem.